Petals on the River Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Petals on the River

The basic premise was both reasonable and believable, a young widower craftsman purchasing the indenture of a young female transportee to act as nursemaid/housekeeper for his young son. Then propinquity takes over, and the result is marriage and children, in that order.
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The hero's life long ambition is to build a ship. This is a revolt against the type of freight hauler his titled father(1) is building in England. He funds this ambition by building fine furniture for the inhabitants of the towns of mid-17th century Virginia(2). His first ship is a brigantine, which has been building for several years. (3)

The hero defends his home with a piece alternately called a muzzle-loader and musket.(4) When training the heroine in the use of this, she immediately begins hitting a small mark at 50 paces. (5)

The heroine got transported because she, as the only child of a very prosperous Irish merchant, was engaged to a Marquis(6) whose grandmother objected, and had her kidnapped and transported in her riding habit.(7) The Marquis, finding rumors of her whereabouts, goes to Virginia and finds her married and carrying the hero's child. He then offers to get an annulment, or shoot the hero, or anything, just so he can marry her. He also promises to care for the child she's carrying and make proper arrangements for her step-son, returning him to his grandfather. But as soon as he meets the daughter of a shipowner (who buys the ship under construction), he is swept off his feet and forgets the heroine.(8) The daughter of the shipowner has Staged down from New York to Newport News.(9)

There is absolutely no mention of Tobacco or plantations in the novel, and that was what Virginia was about until weell into the middle of the 18th Century.

Ms. Woodiwiss has a reputation as a slow writer. My best bet is it because she is a slow typist, as she certainly doesn't spend huge amounts of time of research.

(1) Shipbuilders didn't get titles in 17th (or 18th) century England.

(2) There were no real towns in 17th (or 18th) century Virginia. Trade was directly between England and the plantations. The plantations bought their fine furniture directly from England, by a process very similar to catalog ordering.

(3) I'd have built handy little single masted sloops 25 to 40 feet long, very suitable for local conditions. Actually, that was beginning to be being built. A trained shipbuilder could rack up huge profits.

(4) Muzzle-loader is a redundancy, until the very late 18th century, everything was muzzle loading. Muskets were fairly new on the market, and worth taking care of. Another character uses a rusted old musket. Very unlikely to fire.

(5) !

(6) Possible, but highly unlikely. My information that the habit of nobility marrying the daughters of rich commoners didn't really get started until the late 18th century.

(7) It is very likely that when she hauled before a magistrate in several years wages worth of clothes, her story will get at least a cursory investigation.

(8) This seems unlikely.

(9) Stage connections along the seaboard were not developed until the 19th Century, well after the setting of this book.

Mike, the not unduly sensitive.

The review of this Book prepared by Mike

Shemaine O'Hearn has been falsely accused of theivery and shipped to the Americas, away from her family and fiance, with no hope of rescue. Enter Gage Thornton, a widower with one young son who's in desperate need of a nanny. One thing leads to another and shortly Shemaine and Gage are under the same roof, in one another's arms, and in one another's hearts, revelling in the peace that comes just before the storm.
The review of this Book prepared by Meredith Griffin

Chapter Analysis of Petals on the River

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Plot & Themes

Time/era of story    -   1600 to 1899 Forbidden/mismatched love?    -   Yes How mismatched?    -   poor loving rich Love Triangles/Polygons    -   Yes What kind:    -   one woman-two men Making a living subplot    -   Yes Making a living:    -   pioneering in countryside    -   working at a business    -   working ordinary lives Inner struggle subplot    -   Yes Struggle with...    -   (general) search for identity/new understanding In love with caretaker or teacher    -   Yes Children/Pregnancy    -   Yes Family focus?    -   Yes Family, loving    -   Yes

Main Male Character

Profession/status:    -   small businessman Age/status:    -   20's-30's Sex makes him    -   less bitchy/arrogant    -   blissful    -   mature    -   sensitive    -   wild Unusual characteristics?    -   Bulging Muscles

Main Female Character

Age/status:    -   a teen Profession/status:    -   accused criminal    -   small businessman Effect of sexing    -   confident    -   a better lover    -   wild    -   blissful    -   mature Unusual characteristics:    -   Super sensitive soggy jelly muffin    -   Very shy


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Southeast Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   England/UK Water?    -   Yes Water:    -   sail boat

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   no torture/death What % of story is romance related?    -   nearly 100% How explicit is the sex?    -   vague references only    -   descript of kissing    -   touching of anatomy    -   licking    -   impregnation/reproduction    -   actual description of sex    -   Boob talk    -   Vagia talk    -   Weiner talk Weird Victorian/Shakespearean English?    -   Yes Focus of story    -   equally on him and her How much dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog    -   significantly more descript than dialog

Books with storylines, themes & endings like Petals on the River

Kathleen E. Woodiwiss Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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